As outrage continues to mount over the kidnapping of more than two hundred girls by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, a second incident was reported by officials on Tuesday. Local officials said that approximately 11 more schoolgirls had been kidnapped.
As a result of the worsening crisis, and as international criticism swells, the United States offered to assist Nigeria’s efforts to recover the girls by providing a team of experts that includes military and law officers, negotiators, and psychologists.
The crisis comes at an inopportune time for Nigeria, as delegates arrive for the African meeting of the World Economic Forum. Additionally, conflicting reports from government and U.N. officials cast skepticism over how seriously the Nigerian government is taking the situation.
As Pamela Constable writes in The Washington Post:
One of the factors in play, several experts said Tuesday, is the permanent tension between northern and southern Nigeria. Jonathan is a southerner and many northerners are said to oppose his bid for reelection next year, which may have dampened his eagerness to intervene in the kidnappings there.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration have sustained criticism for their perceived unenthusiastic response. A spokesman for the president told CNN, “We’ve done a lot—but we are not talking about it. We’re not Americans. We’re not showing people, you know, but it does not mean that we are not doing something.”
In Congress, 20 female senators signed a letter calling on President Obama to take action against Boko Haram, and press for UN sanctions against the group, designated by the administration as a terrorist group.